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Two times. That’s the number of times Carolyn has tried out for a capella groups here: once freshman year and once sophomore year. As she was reminded this past weekend at Dartmouth Idol, this school has way more singing talent than its size might suggest. Seriously. It’s like everybody here can belt a tune or two. As disappointed as she may have been to have toiled through the day-long auditions and the call-backs at midnight, only to receive a “no,” being rejected from the coveted singing clubs allowed her to pursue something that she had never done in high school but had always wanted to try — the school newspaper. One door closes, another door opens, as the saying goes. Nikhita thinks that being rejected from her “dream school” during college application season was in fact a blessing in disguise, because she would have never realized that Dartmouth was actually her real dream school … or have been writing this week’s editor’s note. It’s funny how things work out. Meeting and covering incredible people, making friends with those who started out as “coworkers,” Carolyn and Nikhita have realized how, in some ways, they were lucky to face rejection right off the bat. And, a whirlwind of 40 issues later, Carolyn writes this final editor’s note with a bit of reluctance and a lot of gratitude for what The D has given her, while Nikhita has high hopes for the future. This week, in the last issue of Mirror for the term, we suggest you look out for the silver linings in your life.
Risk is a basic principle in economics: investors are willing to take on risks in exchange for a better return on their investment. At Dartmouth, we’re taking risks all the time, from plunging into Occom pond during Winter Carnival, enrolling in a class just because it sounds cool or sending a hopeful flitz to a crush. Sometimes taking these risks pay off, other times not so much, but we’re willing to do so for the chance of making our short time here all the more worthwhile. In this week’s issue of Mirror, we encourage you to take a leap of faith and join us as we explore the various risks we take — from sharing spaces with people who at first glance may seem to hold very different values than us, to choosing an unconventional career path. So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in.
It’s Week Eight, and by now, most of us have settled into a routine ... only for it to all end in a couple of weeks, when we reset with another term. Routines can be habits that we force ourselves to follow, in hopes of being the best versions of ourselves. Carolyn purposefully signed up for an 8:45 a.m. gym class this term, knowing her first class would otherwise start at 2:10 p.m. She also started listening to podcasts while walking around campus rather than blasting electronic music (while the latter is a fitting soundtrack to her life it doesn’t necessarily keep her up to date on the world’s happenings). This term, Nikhita has taken up a habit of waking up earlier than five minutes before her first class starts, with King Arthur Flour pastries being her lure to go do work in the library in the mornings. She has also started frequenting the gym more often as a way to blow off some steam, because sometimes winter term just becomes too much. At the same time, however, old habits die hard. Routines can also be actions that we guiltily follow, but do nothing to change. Carolyn admits to having recently been hooked onto caffeine, and Nikhita woefully regrets her nail-biting ways. What are the routines that we follow on campus? Is reading the Mirror every Wednesday part of yours?
Love Valentine’s Day? Or do you hate it, proclaiming it to be Singles Awareness Day instead? Unfortunately, Singles Day already exists, and won’t happen until later this year — on Nov. 11 (11/11, get it?). Chinese e-retailer giant Alibaba has held Singles Day, a major sale event, for the past 10 years, with $1 billion dollars being sold over the site in just the first minute-and-a-half this past year. Alibaba might be on to something — you may be lonely, so how about a new watch? Singles Day, while not explicitly about celebrating being single, parallels the commercialism of Valentine’s Day in the States. Bouquets will be frantically ordered last-minute online, chocolates will be cleared off the shelves of CVS and restaurants will be packed with couples trying to enjoy an intimate meal with dozens of other couples sitting a few feet away. Even though so much time, effort and money is put into the day, maybe the hype is worth it — perhaps it reminds us to show our appreciation for our loved ones, a reminder that shouldn’t necessarily be needed, but possibly, it is called for to take a little time and appreciate one another and ourselves. Gift or not.
We have different ways of dealing with stress. Some will write down everything they need to get done in the next 24 hours and go down the list, chipping away at a seemingly large mountain of to-dos and don’t-forgets. Others will push off what they need to get done — “Hey, I haven’t cleaned my room in a while, let me rearrange my shelves instead of starting this paper due on Friday.” But it’s almost universally understood that being told to “chill out” is, in most cases, unhelpful. No, taking a chill pill won’t help me ace this test or interview tomorrow. Wow, does it sound like we need to calm down? Excuse you, it’s week six, the part of the term when things aren’t fun anymore. If you’re like us and are in desperate need of a break, explore this week’s issue and chill out with us.
Milestones. Sometimes, milestones are a good thing — who can forget the joy of their first day of starting college, of a baby’s first “mama,” of buying one’s first apartment?
The wildly popular Netflix series on the ways technology can warp our lives, Black Mirror, came out with a new episode, “Bandersnatch,” over winter break. The format of the episode is quite novel: it is somewhat like a choose-your-own-adventure book, except in television form.
The last few weeks, and months, have been pretty crazy — news of mailed pipe bombs, an accusation of sexual assault by a Supreme Court nominee and yet another mass shooting driven by anti-Semitism have left many in this country reeling. More recently and more close to home, last Friday’s shooting incident and subsequent campus shelter advisory put many students on edge. These events have left many of us itching for change. Yesterday, perhaps, was a chance for us to tell the world how we feel. With an urgency unmatched by other midterm elections, countless of our peers urged one another to go vote. Thus, in this issue of the Mirror, “Let’s Get Political.”
In honor of Halloween, the Mirror dives into all that is creepy, weird and unsettling — all that is uncanny.
Gender. Some of us think about it more than others — one may happen to notice this particular aspect of one’s identity more in certain situations, such as walking home at night in the city. For some, gender identity does not factor into one’s daily, conscious decisions such as what to wear or how to act around others, but the reality is that gender is often at the forefront of many of our minds.
Our campus, though nestled in the white mountains of New Hampshire, hours away from the hustle and bustle of city life, is a thriving and pulsing center. We may be secluded from the noise of any city, unlike many of our Ivy League counterparts, but we make enough noise of our own. But what happens when there’s no noise at all?
Hierarchy. Our lives, and society, are often structured around hierarchies. Some of the hierarchies around us are benign. We organize students into underclassmen and upperclassmen we rank the various food options around us (which we cover in this issue). Clubs usually consist of some members who make “big decisions” and others who do not. These hierachies invade all areas of our lives: socioeconomic status, gender, race, class, sexuality. In today’s issue of the Mirror, we explore some of the ways hierarchy comes into play at Dartmouth. We recognize that we cannot cover every single topic on the matter, for there are whole books written about hierarchy and how it manifests in different ways in our society, but we hope this issue stirs up some discussion on the topic.
Evolution. It’s the reason why we’re here. It’s why we stand on two legs, why most of us get our wisdom teeth taken out, why we have five fingers to clasp our morning coffee. Evolution, in both the scientific and the lay sense, permeates every aspect of our lives, from modern medicine to forensics (DNA testing) to computer science (algorithms that compete against each other).
If you are not struck by love upon your first step on the Green, first Collis smoothie or first run around Pine Park — no fear. It can be a slower kind of love, a kind of love that you don’t notice until you’re sitting in your 9L, daydreaming about hitting the green, not hitting the stacks, after class.
The last word. When everything is said and done, what is left? You spent four years here. Twelve terms. 2,103,795 minutes. 126,227,704 seconds. How do you condense it all — the friendships, lessons learned, heart-to-hearts, sweaty dance party nights and 2 a.m. cram sessions — into just a couple of words? Once you graduate, how will you look back on your time here? Will your time here by defined by terms? Defined by that term you fell in love, that term you met the people you can’t imagine life without, that term you decided to pursue your passion? Or will you define it by year? Will you look back on your second year as a “sophomore slump” or reminisce fondly about lazy days on the Green during sophomore summer? Those who won’t be graduating any time soon, how will you choose to spend your remaining time here? Luckily for you, members of the 2018 directorate of The Dartmouth impart some of their wisdom in this issue of the Mirror — the ’18s are back for one last time, for one last word.
Time flies when you’re having fun. Or in our case, time flies when your term is packed back-to-back with midterms, meetings, lunch dates and midnight cram sessions. The break-neck speed of a term can often leave one disoriented and confused by Week Nine — wasn’t it only Week Two just a moment ago? Time warps in weird ways here.
Carolyn: I was disappointed to find out that I was randomly assigned to live in the River cluster — notoriously known as one of the worst dorms because of its distant location from the center of campus. I soon found that the long walk down Tuck Drive was worth it because of the unique community that organically sprung up there. I didn’t necessarily feel grateful for it while I was making the 20-minute trek to the River through the snow and hail, but looking back, I would now regard living in the River as a blessing in disguise, as I met some of my best friends there.